Becoming the fifth state to permit gay marriage:
The governor’s signature came barely an hour after the measure won final approval in the state Legislature, with a final 31-8 vote in favor in the Maine Senate.
Baldacci said in a statement that while he has opposed gay marriage in the past, “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and ofequal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.
“This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs,” the governor said. “It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of church and state.
“It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government,” Baldacci said.
The governor’s signature means the law would take effect in 90 days after the end of the legislative session. It may not, however, be the last word: Opponents of same-sex marriage are gearing up to mount a so-called “people’s veto” campaign that would put the issue to a statewide vote in November.
New Hampshire’s House is also expected to vote on a gay marriage bill today and send it to Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat who has not indicated whether he’ll sign the legislation.
Meanwhile, Marion Barry warns of a “Civil War” over gay marriage in DC:
D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), the only council member to vote against the bill today to legalize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, predicted today there could be a “civil war” in the District if the Council decides to take up a broader gay marriage bill later this year.
“All hell is going to break lose,” Barry said while speaking to reporters. “We may have a civil war. The black community is just adamant against this.”